Issue #2 comes with a tale that takes place in a very cold place filled with outdated pseudo-slurs, dog sleds, and kung fu. Scarlett is dressed to match an outfit she wears in a martial arts contest, Snake Eyes is in snow gear, and Tracker Kwinn is a brand new (to plastic) character made of existing parts, except for the head.
The set basically aims to recreated something that never was-- a G.I. Joe comic book toy line. Since this set includes a figure that's never been released before as well as two popular characters in new outfits, what's not to like?
Worth a look if you like what you see, and you know that you do.
Made of mostly existing molds, this set manages to twist some old figures into something new, and for the most part does so quite well.
Scarlett is modeled after her outfit from the tournament that starts the story. By splicing a new head on the old Jinx body, Hasbro managed to quickly capture the old style of figures without creating a new body-- although she has shoes here, and in the comic, she does not. The downside is that the new head is a little small, and on the body, she's looking a little chunky-- this is a problem throughout the comic series of figures, but isn't necessarily a dealbreaker. She's quite posable but her construction was done so that you'll probably wish you had a figure stand (sold separately) to prop her up in all sorts of nifty kung fu poses.
One of the more creative Snake Eyes figures is this model, made to look like he does at the North Pole. By using parts from an existing snow figure, Hasbro swapped in the original Snake Eyes head on a recolored (mostly) Snow Job body. The old Joe figure construction lends itself nicely to parts-swapping, and it's nice to see Hasbro make a new figure rather than just release yet another plain Snake Eyes.
Finally, the new figure of the bunch is Tracker Kwinn, a somewhat popular character with a bit of a legacy-- his son is the driver of Cobra's Pulverizer vehicle from 2004. Kwinn himself is an Eskimo-- or so the comic implies-- that's very tall and looks a lot like Marco from SeaLab. The actual figure doesn't really look very big, but he does have an all-new head on Big Ben's body, plus the infamous weasel skull necklace which is removable and, as you can see, compatible with other toys from the set.
Overall, the figures are mostly well done except for some hand warping due to how they were packaged which may result in some weapons being difficult to grip unless you make an active effort to reshape their hands-- which is a little difficult to do. The sculpts are strictly old-school, as is the articulation and the weapons, but it's such an original concept that we bought into it.
So far the comic sets have been very friendly to collectors by including a number of non-goofy weapons, more than the figures need-- this is as close to weapons packs as we're likely to see anytime soon.
The backpack's a nice addition for this set, as is the original Weasel Skull Necklace which is really a part of Kwinn and, as far as we can tell, totally new. There's such a rich selection of weapons here it's hard not to be overwhelmed, with six weapons, a dog, a tripod, and a backpack. It's more than you need, which is a nice change of pace seeing as how most figures these days include a single weapon.
The first series of these three-packs come with a plastic bubble partially taped, partially glued to a cardboard cardback. The artwork is based on (or taken from) 1980s books an looks excellent-- it totally captures the zeitgeist of the era these toys should have been made in originally.
Here, you can see the front and back of the package and the filecards. The packaging does a good job highlighting everything that comes in the set. What's particularly interesting is that the card art really doesn't look a heck of a lot like the figures from the comics. Kwinn's packaging art looks like it was ripped from a WWII anti-Japan propoganda poster, and doesn't at all resemble his appearance from the comics. Still, the very '80s comic book artwork turned out quite well and makes for a nice throwback to the old days.
While not shown, this set is worth five Battle Points.
Also included is a reprint of G.I. Joe issue #2. In it, the team is sent to the North Pole to look for unfriendly activity and is being watched by the Soviets, Kwinn, and you, the reader. What's particularly funny are some of the outdated slurs, like the Soviets referring to the Joes as "Amerikaneskis" and the Joes to Kwinn as "Nanook."
It really doesn't feature Cobra, which means it's a bit like Masters of the Universe sans Skeletor. Still, it's a neat story and Kwinn makes for an interesting mercenary character, so it's worth reading.
While not perfect, it's a fun set to get if you're an older fan of the line. Kids will probably prefer the newer, more realistic two-packs of figures to these sets. If you're really in to old school style toys, you'll flip for this. The figure quality is good, but could be better-- Kwinn's head isn't exactly free moving, nor is Scarlett's. Also, the rubber bands seem a little tight, sometimes resulting in somewhat awkward poses without a stand.
Still, for $10 or less, it's a good deal. And you can always scrap 'em for parts too.
Text and photos by Adam Pawlus
Review posted on February 2 2005
Sample purchased from a Fry's Marketplace for $7.99 in January, 2005.